Posts Tagged ‘psychology’
I did not know what time it was when I came downstairs to finish our winter display — images and symbols communicating the holiday season, as observed and celebrated by various sacred traditions in anticipation of the coming of the light. All I knew was that it was cold and dark outside, and I was ready to head home.
Just as I was hanging one of the last ornaments, I caught a glimpse of her in the corner of my eye — a student of mine, who I knew had an extremely long commute. And, I also knew she had cancer, as she asked our community to remember her in our prayers at a service she could not attend last year. → Read more
“Sally” hated a man she had once admired because as it turned out, he hated women, and had repeatedly accused her and criticized her in front of others. She came to realize she couldn’t trust him; felt she couldn’t defend herself; and felt unsafe around him. They both lived in the same small town, and although she tried to avoid him, inevitably there were times when their paths crossed. Whenever she saw him, she felt tightness in her chest, and intense anger and disgust—“almost on the verge of tears.” → Read more
During the December 2011 International Congress, we took a taxi to visit the Erickson home and on our way had a conversation with our driver. At first, it was pleasant chitchat, but then we engaged on a deeper level and asked the driver how he came to live in Phoenix. He told us about his unhappy divorce–how several years earlier his wife, who he thought was the love of his life, had abandoned him in order to take a job in another state. When he admitted he felt “puzzled and sucker-punched” the atmosphere in the taxi became tense and quiet. → Read more
Anxious parents called, each in turn, about their 17-year-old daughter Bev, who for the past six months had obsessively washed her hands three to four hours a day. Both parents reported they had “tried everything.” including counseling and drugs. They were so desperate they were now exploring hypnosis, about which they were skeptical. Somewhat worn down by their forceful skepticism, I said to the anxious mother, “Look, because you are desperate and because you worry that once again you will be throwing money away, I will offer you a complimentary consultation. I will evaluate your daughter’s symptoms and only schedule a therapy session if I believe I can help her.” With this assurance, she made an appointment. → Read more
A private girl’s school near my office referred a sophomore named Lana to my practice because of missed classes and academic problems.
Normally when a girl this age comes to a professional for the first time, she pays attention to her appearance. But Lana’s hair was disheveled, her sweatsuit looked like it needed a trip to the washing machine, and her sneakers were worn. Her clothing was too big, meant to camouflage her weight. She was definitely not comfortable in her skin. If one looked closer, underneath all this baggage was an attractive, intelligent young lady. → Read more
Perhaps the most useful of Erickson’s remarkable techniques is the concept of utilization. Utilization harnesses the language and experience of the client. It allows clients to use their own knowledge, strengths, and skills to explore useful solutions to their own problems. As such it is well suited to working with clients like the adolescent described below, who may not be particularly interested in “therapy” or in “self-examination.” → Read more
Cathy was a 55–year-old single client of a colleague. Her initial complaint was that, although she was very competent in her work, she repeatedly raged at her boss and at co-workers. It soon emerged that she had a history of sexual abuse from her father, and had a very difficult time separating her own experience from others. Hence, it was hard for her to know her own needs, and defend herself from the expectations and intrusions from others. She showed what is often called “co-dependence,” or “enmeshment.” My colleague had done a lot of work with her intermittently over a period of several years, and she had made a lot of progress, but they had reached a plateau. → Read more
Dr. Jim, a sweet-faced, middle-aged man, arrived, referred for treatment of anxiety by a previous hypnosis patient. When I ask him what form the anxiety takes, he says he is a good doctor with a healthy practice, confident in his skills and in his marriage relationship. He describes his wife, Beth, in loving terms. He wants to please her.
His wife had convinced him to take dancing lessons with her so they could enjoy learning together, and he consented. She is a very adept, fluid, and comfortable dancer. He had to work hard at the lessons to be a good partner, and his lessons went well. But, like all beginners, he sometimes stumbled. → Read more